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Burger Delays Return Of California Delegates


WASHINGTON--Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Thursday delayed implementation of a lower court decision returning 151 Democratic National Convention delegates to Sen. George S. McGovern (D-S. Dak.) while he studied requests for a special session of the Supreme Court.

The U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals here ruled Wednesday that the convention's Credentials Committee acted unconstitutionally in stripping McGovern of more than half the delegates he won in the winner-take-all California primary.

The circuit court, which also upheld the committee's ouster of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and 58 other Illinois delegates, issued routine stays holding up implementation of its orders until the losers in both suits had time to appeal.

Burger was asked Thursday morning to call a special session of the Supreme Court to hear emergency appeals before the opening of the convention Monday.

The Chief Justice, who was contacting each of the other eight vacationing justices to find if there was sufficient support for a special session, had not completed the process by mid-afternoon and so extended the circuit court's stay, which would have expired at 2 p.m.

Burger's order reads that the circuit court stay "is hereby extended until further order of the court."

The action by Burger freezes the issue as it stands until a decision is made at the Supreme Court level on whether to accept the dual appeals of the circuit court decision.

The party hierarchy asked Burger to suspend the effect of the appeals court ruling, which overrode the party Credentials Committee to allow McGovern to recover 151 California convention delegates.

The party brief claimed that the appeal court has "thrown the country into a constitutional crisis" by dabbling in the selection of delegates to the political convention.

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